Crystal Leww: Cardi B is not a good rapper, and any criticism of her music will undoubtedly try to hit at her weakness in the “technical” department. But technical skills have always been overrated in music anyway. You know what is exciting? I went to a small music night in New York a couple of weeks ago, and the DJ dropped “Bodak Yellow.” Before Cardi’s … Continue reading To watch it unfold (Cardi B)
New York Times, Oct. 5, 1969 “The six tracks on the first side and the opening two tracks on the flip are all write-offs: there’s a Ringo Starr nursery rhyme; a quick burst of sub-Brian Wilson; two songs by George Harrison, mediocrity incarnate; yet another slice of Paul McCartney twenties nostalgia, and an endless slow blues. “The badness ranges from mere gentle tedium to cringing … Continue reading Nik Cohn on an “unmitigated disaster” by the Fab Four
“Because it was endearing when I wanted to consume my boyfriend’s record collection at 15 and liked being quizzed on singles and trivia — but when I later covered music for years for the alt-weekly in Nashville at 28 as the local rock scene there simmered up, I got an unending stream of shit for daring to write like I thought I had something to … Continue reading Regarding Her Husband’s Stupid Record Collection
Well, sort of. Rolling Stone’s 500 Worst Reviews of All Time, a “work in progress” by someone named “schmidtt,” showed up recently on my Facebook feed, and though I instantly assumed it was something I wanted nothing to do with — and it is still something I will not likely ever find time to read in its entirety — it’s not an entirely unenjoyable ride. … Continue reading Just Another Rolling Stone Top 500 List?
At his excellent blog, Can’t Explain, Jeff Pike assembles a small road crew to re-evaluate Neil Young’s 1979 Pazz & Jop-winning LP, Rust Never Sleeps. Jeff, Phil Dellio, Steven Rubio, Jack Thompson, and yours truly all pipe in, with reactions which, while positive overall, are surprisingly varied. The one perhaps not-so-surprising common denominator, mentioned at least once by everyone, is punk. (My original impulse, in … Continue reading Rust, Still Awake
“ABC were striking out where a lot of other pop (but not all of it) was too timid to follow. “I emphasise that ‘but not all of it’ because by early 1982 it was palpably evident that a great deal of pop was striking out. Records like ‘Party Fears Two’ and ‘Ghosts’ were redefining what could be achieved with pop music on a near-weekly basis. … Continue reading Lexicon of Pop
Music isn’t a science — it breathes and moves, it adjusts to its surroundings. We know that everyone wants to figure this out as quickly as possible, but that’s not the way to take in music, and an album release like this one just shows more clearly than ever how unhealthy the state of music really is. We are literally trying to review albums — … Continue reading Daft
Sometime on Friday 30 April 1982, in an apartment somewhere in New York City, Lester Bangs dies. He is found lying on the floor. He is approximately thirty-three-and-a-third years old. He had been suffering from the ‘flu and had been taking Darvon and NyQuil. It was suggested that his immune system was shot due to an over-zealous cleaning-up of his own body following a lifetime … Continue reading Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Good Times
Geeta Dayal, Simon Reynolds, and Carl Wilson discuss the new Bowie album on the CBC. (Can’t access this now, will have to listen later. And in other important news, I’m going to break down and give the Bowie album a listen as well.) Continue reading Bowie discussion
Steven Ward, in this brief comments thread, conveyed disappointment with Simon Reynolds for not (or anyway, for barely) mentioning music in his NYT Bowie review. I concur that it’s a problem because one simple question is never answered for me, which is why are people getting excited (faux-excited?) about this particular Bowie record now? Today, in Burning Ambulance, Phil Freeman reviews The Next Day, and … Continue reading Sound vs. Vision?
Anyone who’s heard Womack and Womack’s ‘Teardrops’ will know that being a banging disco floorfiller is absolutely no guarantee of it not being one of the saddest songs in the world. And not every song on an album has to be heartbroken for it to be heartbreaking, of course. – Hazel Robinson reviews Tegan and Sara‘s Heartthrob Continue reading Footsteps on the Dancefloor
But sometimes you get the real thing, as with James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Like Chinese Democracy and Vineland, Finnegans Wake took 17 years, as everybody wondered how Joyce could follow a masterpiece like Ulysses. The Wake inspired a book of critical essays before it even came out, based on the “Work in Progress” fragments he published in lit mags. But when the Wake arrived, the … Continue reading James Joyce’s Bloomin’ Valentine
Anthony Easton: At first I was sad that the production obscured her voice, but it’s in the same sub-genre as KLF and Tammy or Pet Shop Boys and Dusty, and those are some of my favourite things. It is less isolating than those examples, but incredibly intimate, the same otherness of Scott Walker, and perhaps the same rejection of pop history, but with the artifice stripped instead of … Continue reading Petulia
“‘Who’s Crying Now,’ the hit single off Journey’s hit LP, isn’t super hip, super deep or even real, real hooky. But it does sound good. What I’m talking about is the way the song’s soft, soapy bass redeems its soft, dopey sentiment by diving beneath tiny fillips of acoustic guitar and bubbling up around a dream-sized dollop of fat harmonies. Every shimmery cymbal tick pays … Continue reading Journey
An M.I.A. collage I found following the release of 2010’s Maya (more colloquially known as /\/\ /\ Y /). Not as good, mind you, as Rich Juzwiak’s perfect word-collage of the same, the sort of review which, by its very being, resists anthologization (good). Continue reading Critical Collage: M.I.A.